Fetzer Repositions As Social Accessory

By Joan Voight and David Kiley

SAN FRANCISCO–Gardner, Geary Coll & Young’s first work for Fetzer Vineyards will be a national repositioning campaign slated to run this summer.

The new tagline for both television and print executions will be ‘These are the days. Enjoy the wine.’

The Hopland, Calif.-based winery is boosting its ad budget from $2-3 million to $7 million to make sure its message gets a big enough splash, according to company officials.

Led by agency president Bob Gardner, the San Francisco shop a year ago won the business, formerly handled by Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis. Since then, the agency and client have conducted strategic research around the country to identify a new brand position for the winery.

The result is a campaign ‘that stands apart from lookalike lifestyle wine advertising that shows happy people drinking wine,’ said Karen Young, a principal at the agency.

‘We found that Fetzer wines are perceived by current customers as an excellent wine to share socially with friends and family,’ she said. The agency’s goal is to create advertisements that encourage viewers to put themselves into familiar social situations, Young added.

The winery is looking ‘to take wine off the pedestal and get people thinking about it for everyday consumption,’ said Michael Friedman, Fetzer general manager. ‘The most successful advertising in the wine and beer categories was the ‘Miller Time’ campaign. We’d like to position Fetzer as the brand for (socializing) in a similar way,’ he added.

Most of Fetzer’s sales are from wines in the $6-7 per bottle range. With the advertising repositioning, Fetzer is trying to establish its brand in the $8-10 per bottle premium varietal range where the winery will face less competition.

Gardner, Geary’s campaign is anchored by a heavy TV broadcast schedule for June and July and backed with a major in-store promotion and new packaging. National cable and network prime time TV commercials will be shown in six markets, according to Fetzer executives.

The Fetzer assignment has grown to be one of the top three accounts at the $35-40 million agency, Young said.

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